Sanctification is one of those big churchy words we sometimes use but often don’t understand. In the United Methodist Hymnal that sits by my desk, there is a section of hymns called “Sanctifying and Perfecting Grace”. Inside this grouping are hymns with titles like Be Thou My Vision, I Need Thee Every Hour, and Have Thine Own Way, Lord.
What do these themes have in common? Well, they speak of hearts that are open to God’s guidance. People who can honestly sing these words as a prayer to God are ones who realize that God can change them, shape them, and mold them more and more into His image. They are accepting of that process. Even desiring of that process.
The generic meaning of sanctification is the state of proper functioning. To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. For example, an ink pen will be sanctified when it is used to write. A pair of eyeglasses is sanctified when they are used to improve sight.
For us as Jesus followers, we are sanctified we are used for the purpose God intends. When we allow God to guide our lives, we will be able to do what it seems we cannot do now. We will let go, or step out, or heal, or change. It takes time for us to first get to know Him and then decide to follow Him. It doesn’t matter how long we have been saved or going to church, growing more like Him is a choice everyone of us makes every single day.
Josh’s class has recently been growing potato plants in paper cups sitting along the edge of the windowsill. Each student has a cup with his or her name on it. Some of the cups contain dry dirt with just a seed still buried deep below. A few of the cups have small green shoots. A couple of the cups have tall stems and dark green leaves. It’s a controlled experiment with the students all working with the same resources. So why are some of the plants thriving and others seemingly lifeless? Why are some refusing to grow?
Those little sprouts monitored by third graders don’t have a choice, I realize. But we do. If we want more peace, more rest, more joy in our lives we can have it. If we want healing, wholeness, or forgiveness in our lives we can have it. If we want stronger relationships and a greater sense of worthiness we can have it. He offers us grace that can create this kind of transformation in us. But when we will not claim that grace, we will stay stuck where we are. What is our choice this day? Peace.